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Spengler: “Lots of Things to Adapt to” for DTM-IMSA Switch

Bruno Spengler discusses his drastic career shift from DTM to IMSA after 15 years in the former…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Newly signed BMW IMSA driver Bruno Spengler reckons there will be “a lot of things” to learn during his first season in GT Le Mans off the back of 15 consecutive years in DTM.

Spengler was confirmed as part of BMW Team RLL’s GT Le Mans driver lineup for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship late last year, replacing Tom Blomqvist in the team’s No. 25 car.

This meant that the 2012 DTM champion had to relinquish his duties in the German touring car series having been a regular part of BMW’s driving squad for various teams.

Spengler’s first race in his new role is this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, while he also took part in test sessions with the BMW M8 GTE at Sebring and Daytona last year.

“It’s a big switch,” Spengler told Sportscar365.

“There are definitely a lot of things I have to adapt to. The M8 is very different to a DTM car and I know the car but not that well [because] I haven’t done a lot in it.

“I just did Sebring last year with the WEC guys, so I have to adapt to the car and learn new tracks: I know Daytona and Sebring, but there are a lot of others for me to learn.

“I’m happy to be a full-time driver here with RLL. I know the team well and I’ve done four races with them already. I like the people and the way they work.”

Spengler admitted that he will miss some aspects of racing in the DTM but is looking forward to rekindling an affinity with the North American motorsport scene.

The Canadian is set to race on home soil for the first time since 2002 when he contested the Formula Renault 2.0 Fran-Am series at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

“In DTM I’m used to 18 cars that can win races,” said Spengler.

“Here it’s a different format, with a mix of longer and shorter races. IMSA GTLM is one of the only other series where you see the cars very close to each other for a long time.

“[But] there are a couple of things I am going to miss, definitely. I would be lying if I said that I was not going to miss anything.

“The racing was cool and the new DTM car was so cool to drive with 600hp and four-cylinder, two-liter engines.

“I’m going to miss driving the car, that’s clear, and also the DTM fans. I love them and they gave me a lot of support during my time in the series.

“They were following me to a lot of races, but here we have a similar kind of atmosphere.

“I was at the Roar and there were a lot of people there. It was crazy and amazing. It was so nice to see so many people at a test.

“I’m looking forward to getting familiar with the fans here and seeing the Canadian fans. It’s going to be fun.”

Spengler Not Counting out DTM Return

In light of his switch from DTM to IMSA, Spengler suggested that it’s not indicative of a permanent shift in focus to GT racing.

BMW driver Augusto Farfus left the DTM series at the end of 2018 to pursue a full-time career with the brand in GTs, but Spengler appears to be keeping his options open for the future.

“I don’t know. I can’t say right now,” he said.

“For this year, I’m open to doing other things next to GT racing. BMW has a lot of nice categories. It has Formula E, and I’m still the test and development driver for the Formula E team.

“So, I don’t know at the moment. I am just happy to be here and race in this category in IMSA with BMW.”

When asked if he would want to return to DTM, Spengler said, “Who knows? I’m open to whatever.”

“I’m not old so I still have plenty of time to race. I am taking the challenge here.

“I’m very focused on it and I rate the championship in IMSA very highly. For me, it’s a cool experience.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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